World Bulletin / News Desk
The Stari Most, or "Old Bridge" in English, of Mostar was destroyed on 9 November 1993, during the siege. After its destruction a temporary cable bridge was erected by Spanish UN forces in its place and a rebuilt bridge was opened only 11 years later, in 2004.
Responsibility for the destruction of the Bridge is attributed to Bosnian Croat artillery fire. Starting on 8 November 1993 the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) attack the bridge with tank fire. Sarajevo-based newspapers reported that more than 60 shells hit the bridge before it collapsed. After the destruction of the Stari Most, a spokesman for the Bosnian Croats admitted that they deliberately destroyed it, claiming that it was of strategic importance.
Academics have argued that the bridge held little strategic value and that its shelling was an example of deliberate cultural property destruction. Numerous intellectuals term the destruction an act of "killing memory", in which evidence of a shared cultural heritage and peaceful co-existence were deliberately destroyed.
The original bridge was commissioned by the Ottoman sultan Suleyman the Magnificent in 1557 to replace an older wooden suspension bridge of dubious stability. Stari Most is one of Bosnia's most recognizable landmarks, it is also considered one of the most exemplary pieces of Islamic architecture in the Balkans and was designed by Mimar Hayruddin, a student and apprentice of the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan.
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